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Class Alleging Background-Check Bias Certified


WASHINGTON (CN)— A federal judge certified three classes of black D.C. transit workers and applicants who say criminal background checks had an unfair impact on them.

More than a dozen redactions pockmark the 47-page opinion, which is dated March 31 but not released until April 18 by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer in Washington.Lead plaintiff Erick Little and eight others filed the underlying complaint in July 2014 against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

WMATA lays out the standards for its background check program, which have been in place since 2012, in Policy 7.2.3. The policy includes four appendices that govern different levels of scrutiny for various job categories. Each appendix lists a number of criminal offenses and whether a felony or misdemeanor conviction for a particular offense is permanently disqualifying. Little and his co-plaintiffs all either were disqualified or removed from employment because of their background-check results.

Saying there are more than 1,000 similarly situated individuals who were disqualified based on criminal history either unrelated to WMATA work or so outdated the conduct should not be considered relevant. FULL ARTICLE